We’ve all been there. You’re at a truck stop parking lot late at night and you can just feel that something terrible is going to happen. Or you start your day’s drive and something just seems a little off about your truck. Or maybe you have a bad feeling about the 4-wheeler that’s in the next lane.
Do you listen to your gut or do you ignore it?
When your instincts tell you that a situation is wrong out on the road, it’s easy to push that concern aside. But your gut instincts are one of the most valuable tools to keep your safe and to make you a more successful driver. Here are just a few reasons to listen next time your instincts send up a warning signal.
1. Why do they call them gut instincts? Because there are intelligent and powerful organisms in your gut. Scientists have recently discovered that the bacteria in our guts, whose cells outnumber our own by over 100 times, can have a major impact on your brain function and behavior by producing toxins that make you feel bad and chemical rewards to make you feel good in order to manipulate your actions. Because these organisms live inside you, it’s in their best interests to use these chemical communication tools to keep you out of the ditch and keep you alive.
2. Your conscious mind is busy driving, so your unconscious mind catches the missing clues. When your brain is busy with a complex task like driving, you’re more likely to miss important visual cues, like the fact that the texting lady in the 4-wheeler has drifted into your blind spot. Your unconscious mind may still pick up on them and send you an instinctual warning when you think about changing lanes.
3. Your instincts can help you spot a liar. And clues from the unconscious mind can also help you when you’re off the road as well. Psychologists say that the unconscious mind is far better at detecting a liar than the conscious mind, helping you to avoid the latest truck stop scam. Next time your gut tells you that someone is telling you a tall tale, believe it.
4. Instinctive muscle memory can make you a better driver. The more experience you have behind the wheel, the more information your muscles have retained about keeping an 80,000-pound vehicle under control. Allowing the instinctive muscle memory you’ve developed over your driving career helps to help you makes you a more efficient and relaxed driver than one who is obsessively thinking through every tiny driving action.
5. Your gut might lead you to help someone in need. Keeping ourselves safe is a pretty strong instinct, but almost equally compelling is the instinct to help other people in need. The instinct to help other people is so strong, in fact, that it causes an endorphin release called “the Helper’s High”. Your gut instincts can make the world a better place.